first_imgOn what India did differently in 2001 and what they should do differently in 2017Sourav Ganguly: Even it (the defeat to Australia in the Mumbai Test) happened in the Western part of India. Australia surprised me to be honest. When you look at that Australian side of 2001, they had every ammunition in the armoury to beat a side anywhere in the world. You look at the spin department, you look at the batting department.CLICK TO WATCH FULL VIDEOI still remember the innings Adam Gilchrist played in Mumbai. That was the best knock I have seen on a tuning pitch. It turned, it bounced and he smashed everything. But Australia’s performance was terrific in Pune. To get India out twice for 105 and 107 was a munumental effort. But I actually still believe deep inside that India will win this series.  On whether India had bad luck back then(Reuters Photo)Sourav Ganguly: Yeah, we were cursed actually, I remember. Questions were raised. Even I was worried because they were a terrific side. When you compare these two sides, I remember India played poorly and I believe that it was a one-off  Test match in Pune and the team will come back hard.We were a young side back then. There was no Anil Kumble, no Javagal Srinath. Harbhajan Singh making a comeback after 4 or 5 years. The question I had to ask then was: Did we have the team to beat them?So, I came to Kolkata and prepared for the Test match. The first question in my mind was: Do I have the bowling to take 20 wickets? We played three Test matches in the series. Harbhajan was constant at one end and we had three different spinners. Rahul Sanghvi bowled in Mumbai, Venkatapahy Raju bowled here (in Kolkata) and then Nilesh Kulkarni went and bowled in Chennai.advertisementSo, it was different in Chennai. The Test match at Eden Gardens I feel was a freak. India have come back in the recent past  in Sri Lanka in Galle when they were 1-0 down even though, Sri Lanka was a very good team.Back then, VVS Laxman was not the same. Except Sachin Tendulkar and probably me. Captain and the seniormost pro. This team was still finding its ground. We had young openers Shiv Sunder Das and I can’t remember who was opening at the other end. That is what it is and I remember on the second evening when I was going back to the hotel, I knew the series was gone. We were 190 all out, Australia got 400. We did not have an answer to the Australian way of playing the game but then Laxman and Rahul Dravid (turned it around). I had a partnership with VVS – 130 odd runs for the 5th wicket and then Dravid and VVS put on a momumental effort.So, as I said, it was a freak.On his strategy after the Mumbai defeatSourav Ganguly: I didn’t have a strategy because we had lost the first Test, we had lost the first two days of the (second) Test match and there was no strategy and the only thing we did was that we kept pushing those guys for one more session and then another session.On his memories from the Eden Gardens Test(Reuters Photo)Sourav Ganguly: I still remember the fourth evening, we had to put saline on Dravid and VVS. There were 2 physio tables and both of them were on the tables, getting some water into the body. They got dehydrated batting in the month of March. I believe that was the luck – Sourav Ganguly luck and then Harbhajan spun it.And on the fifth day, just before tea, Australia were three down. I remember dropping a catch of Steve Waugh at leg slip off Harbhajan and as he walked past he said, “I don’t think you are going to win the Test match”. And when he came back after tea, he flicked the ball and he got caught off the back foot at short-leg. We got seven wickets in that session.  It was desiny and once I went past that Test match, we knew that we will beat them in Chennai.Even though India have lost the first Test match, they will come back and beat them in Bangalore.On Virat Kohli’s attitude after a heavy defeat:Sourav Ganguly: I loved the press conference Virat did after the match. He was not trying to hide anything. It was just that we didn’t bat well and that is why we lost the Test match. At the same time, he said it is one-off and I believe the same. India has been brilliant in the last 10 months, winning almost everything but they will have to come back and play hard.advertisementVirat Kohli has terrific leadership skills. I have a lot of faith in his leadership. He is honest which is very important and his message to his team is very clear. I saw his pictures in the newspapers and saw that he was off to a cliff for a break and it is a great thing. He won’t keep winning forever.You lose at home as well and many teams have lost. It was not the first time and you just need to get it out of the system, take a break and come back in Bangalore. And when you prepare such pitches as the one in Pune and I know the curator was not happy, then you give average bowlers a chance and I am not belittling Steven O’Keefe.  But he becomes a wicket-taker which he won’ be normally on a batting pitch. India need to prepare good pitches, take the Test match to day four an then take the game forward.In Mumbai and Chennai, England scored 400-450 in the 1st innings and India scored over 600 and they came back and won. So, they have done good things. They have the bowling that can win Test matches.On his plans to contain a dangerous Australia in 2001:I had a simple strategy and I knew I was up against a very good Australian side. I knew runs were important. I just attacked with Harbhajan and defended with the others. If I had Anil Kumble at the other end, then I would have attacked with two spinners. But Virat has two spinners  – R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are both very good spinners. India don’t need to worry. A Four-Test series is a long series. Even against England, they were under pressure in Rajkot and Virat had to bat to save the Test match and they were a different side. But drawing and winning is different. Australia will come back very confident because they have won a Test.And they have also started believing that they can beat this side also because of the way they batted. Steven Smith’s hundred , I believe one, was one of the best on turning tracks. I have seen Gilchist and I then saw Michael Clarke get a century.On Virat Kohli’s rare failure Reuters PhotoSourav Ganguly: Kohli is human and he had to fail one day. He failed in both innings in Pune. I think he played a little bit of a loose shot in the first innings outside the off stump but the Australians bowled him there. They must have seen Stuart Broad and James Anderson bowling to him in England outside the off stump. In the second innings, I think the game was already over. A 441-run target was a humongous task. Kohli will come back because he is a class act.  His record against Australia is unreal. To watch those four back-to-back Test match hundreds against Australia in Australia (was surreal). I have not seen even Sachin Tendulkar do that. Getting four Test match hundreds in every venue on your second trip to Australia is a special special effort.advertisementOn India’s spinnersSourav Ganguly: I think Ashwin and Jadeja will do it. Umesh Yadav bowled superbly. The best I have seen him bowl in Test match. India won a Test match at Lord’s and England went on to win the series 3-1 in 2014. They have the team and it is the belief. India will have to believe. India needs to use the DRS better. On the Kumble-Kohli combinationSourav Ganguly: Anil will have to work with Virat and I am sure they will work together. It is not the end of the world. It is pressure but you will not lose everytime. India lost the 1st T20 against England and looked down and out in the 2nd but Jasprit Bumrah bowled the magical over and India won the match and went on to win the series from there. They will have to go back to the basics get the thought process and I hope Anil Kumble will support them.On Jayant Yadav’s place in the teamSourav Ganguly: May be I could leave Jayant Yadav out and play extra batsman give Karun Nair a chance. Ajinkya Rahane is looking a little down in confidence. You just need 4 bowlers in India. Two spinners will give you 20 wickets in Test matches. Bowlers will have to bowl long spells Ashwin and Jadeja are capable olast_img read more

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